Meet our Difference Makers

Difference Makers are people just like you - everyday Canadians doing amazing things. This page will tell you more about just some of the wonderful Difference Makers out there. We hope they will inspire and motivate you.

And if you've done something to make a difference, or know someone who has - tell us at We would love to hear your story.


Carolyn West

Carolyn West, a resource teacher at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, believes it’s educators’ responsibility to mold their school into a community where all students can experience life to the fullest.
“It’s my job to make education accessible to all students, regardless of their situation – this is why the topic of accessibility is so important to me,” says Carolyn. “School-wide accessibility is something we all need to look at.”
Read Carolyn's story


Alex Otis

"Even if someone has a disability like me, they are actually able to do anything".

Read Alex's story


Hannah Taylor

Five year old Hannah Taylor set out to make life better for homeless people in her community.

Read Hannah's story


Ahmed Abdullah

"I believe we should all stand up and speak up when we see someone getting hurt."

Read Ahmed's story

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Emerald Yun

"I felt good because I was helping other people"

Read Emerald's story

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Emily Tate

Emily spent a day in a wheelchair to help people learn about accessibility.

Read Emily's story

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Jessica Rideout

"I really enjoy connecting with other visually impaired students and helping out in any way I can."

Read Jessica's story

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Dylan Spetz and Eric Hattum

Two boys who have changed people's perceptions of autism and each other's lives.

Read Dylan Spetz and Eric Hattum's story

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Tyler Sparkes

"Rick reminds us to turn the obstacles we face into something good"

Read Tyler's story

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Gareth Rice

Like Rick, Gareth, who has cerebral palsy, overcomes obstacles with a positive attitude

Read Gareth's story

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Sam Tilden

"I show that it is possible to have an amazing life. Even if I can't walk."

Read Sam Tilden's story

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Shannen Head

Shannen wants to be a teacher and has made a difference by teaching in Canada and Dominica.

Read Shannen's story

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Nicole Panipakoocho

Nicole volunteers with the Kamatsiaqtut Help Line, a source of support and inspiration.

Read Nicole's story

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Rachel Beaudette

Rachel is involved in many charitable activities from food collections to relays.

Read Rachel Beaudette's story

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Manraj Sidhu

Diagnosed with cancer in grade 11, Manraj now volunteers to support young people with cancer

Read Manraj Sidhu's story

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Katie Elsey

Katie is in Grade 5 and already a dedicated fundraiser, participating in the MS Walk and zumbathons.

Read Katie Elsey's story

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Carolyn Chandler

Carolyn, a student from PEI, used music to take a stand against bullying.

Read Carolyn Chandler's story

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Sierra Roth

Sierra inspired her class at school to raise funds for the Rick Hansen Foundation through a Significant Objects Experiment.

Read Sierra Roth's story

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Jill Martens

Jill Martens, an inspirational young woman from Boissevain, Manitoba, is the proud recipient of the Atsede Hobbs "Living out Loud" Rick Hansen Difference Maker Scholarship for 2014.

Read Jill Martens's story

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Maura Del Medico

In 2015, the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program named Maura Del Medico of Ontario as our Difference Maker of the Year for her efforts to enhance the social environment of her school and help her fellow students.

Read Maura's story

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Luke Harris

With his new initiative Run 4 the Health of It, Luke is an athlete turned advocate – he’s encouraging high schools across BC to include students with special needs in both Cross Country and Track & Field teams.

Read Luke's story

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Hayden Kalelest

In 2016, the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program named Hayden Kalelest of Williams Lake, BC as our Difference Maker of the Year for his perseverance, courage and leadership.

Read Hayden’s story